I couldn’t start a new book after finishing these… but was it worth it?
Ah, the book hangover. That feeling of emptiness left in the wake of a truly excellent reading experience, which sometimes lingers for days and makes starting a new book feel next to impossible.
After a sleepless night with my latest “can’t put it down” read, I’ve been living in that feeling. I’m mad at myself for reading so quickly, and can’t seem to get into a new book without wishing it could just keep that previous reading experience going.
So as I languish for a few more days waiting to find bookish love again, I’ve been thinking about those other titles that left me in a similar state of longing for the reading experience that got away.
This is both a recommendation post and a warning — these books are so good, they might put you off other reads for a little while.
1. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
I couldn’t start this list without citing the book that’s to blame for my current bookish hangover.
Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis is a well-hyped title you’ve likely seen making the rounds and I’m here to say, it’s for good reason. This is an adorable fake-dating romance set at a University, where the protagonist’s scientific and academic goals take center stage.
In retrospect, I wish I’d slowed down and savored this book a bit more. I started it one night at bedtime and, the next night, stayed up to an unprecedented time of 11:30pm to finish reading. My bedtime is sacred. A good book only breaks it once in a blue moon. It is, perhaps, not surprising that I can’t seem to find my way to any other book just yet.
If you like a romance with a good bit of banter and a heavy dash of spice, this one’s for you. Just don’t expect to rebound to the book next door too soon afterwards.
2. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
I still remember the first time I read the synopsis for this book, and realized that somehow, all along, I’d been waiting for Well Met. I mean… a rom com set at a local Renaissance Festival? Exactly the thing I didn’t know I needed.
The moment I got my hands on this book, I knew I’d do nothing but read it until I finished. Yet another member of the “got Amanda to ditch bedtime” club, this book is a fantastic enemies-to-lovers delight complete with fake — or is it — flirting for the benefit of the Ren Fest going crowds.
All other books were forgotten as I read this one, and it took a while to warm up to the idea of reading anything not set at a Renaissance Festival afterward.
Thankfully, Well Met at least has a sequel (and soon-to-be third installment) to keep you warm at night if you can’t imagine bringing another book to bed with you soon after finishing.
3. How Not to Fall in Love by Jacqueline Firkins
I read a digital review copy of this one over the summer and reader, I’m still thinking about it. It comes out in December of this year. I remember this because I can’t wait to throw it at people. Should you preorder it? Yes, you should.
How Not to Fall In Love features the trope I love the most, friends to lovers, and has a nice dash of LARPing thrown in. Let’s not forget a leading lady who isn’t sure she believes in love and a nice dose of LARPing in the mix. Nerds in love. It gets me every time.
This is a slow simmer with just a hint of steam in all the right places. I loved it so much I had no choice but to make my way to a book with a similar trope right after finishing, as some solace for not getting to live inside the first-read experience of this one anymore.
4. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Ah, yes. The book I read immediately after the aforementioned friends-to-lovers book.
People We Meet on Vacation takes friends-to-lovers on vacation with the premise that our leading couple have taken an annual trip together every year since college. Or at least, they used to, before That Thing happened. I liked this book’s grown up look at the complications that arise when close friends catch feelings and aren’t sure they’re similar enough to make it work.
This also fits the bill of what I’ve learned is called grumpy/sunshine in romance, which I am apparently also a sucker for.
This book and I spent a lovely weekend together in a Getaway cabin and I thought about it the whole drive back home. And the day after that. And, well… you get the idea.
Read At Your Own Risk
Book hangovers are, of course, not just reserved for romance novels. For whatever reason, this genre just tends to produce them most frequently for me personally… maybe because I tend to get a little too invested in the central relationships and just how they’ll arrive at the genre-promised Happily Ever After.
Regardless, reader, you have been warned! These four phenomenal books are worth a read, but they may leave you struggling to move on.
I’m curious to know — what books have you loved so much that moving on to a new story was difficult?